Pearls of onions

Squash and kale arrived in the most recent CSA box, but the most interesting denizens were some small onions. Tiny purple ones, actually; the size of the end of my pinkie finger. I tossed them, whole, with red, white (well Yukon Gold) and blue potatoes and roasted them all with olive oil, dried marjoram, garlic powder and dried thyme.

The remaining baby onions went raw into a big salad last night that included leftover herb-grilled chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and peaches. I love peaches and savory things together. You can’t beat a ripe peach with prosciutto.

The chicken was marinated in white wine, lemon juice, olive oil and a gob of fresh basil (also in the box), fresh sage and fresh thyme (both from the backyard). I adapted the recipe from an old cookbook that I love, “Flavors of Tuscany” by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.

I was drawn to the book because it contained a recipe for a simple soup called acquacotta that my husband and I tasted in Florence. It’s probably one of those soups that every Tuscan cook makes in her own way, and it was certainly what we needed when we arrived from a delayed flight on a rainy night, bedraggled and chilled. It’s a vegetable soup made with water, not stock (hence the name, which means “cooked water”), and including white beans. To serve, you put a toasted slice of good, crusty bread in the bottom of each bowl, pour the soup over the bread and top with a poached egg. Add some olive oil and Parmesan, if you like. I’ve dipped into other recipes in the book, and they’ve been good, but the acquacotta holds a special place.

It tastes so good, when the bread softens and magnifies the other ingredients, and when the richness of the poached egg yolk spreads through the soup, that even my bean-phobic husband will eat it. Now, that’s a soup.


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